Subject: Art of Gratefulness
Welcome to Celebrating the Journey!
Monday, January 8, 2001
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Welcome Notes
2. The Art of Gratefulness by Michael Angier
4. Humor: What To Do With A Dead Horse
1. Welcome Notes
I sat in my hot tub several nights ago, breathing in the beauty of
the bright moonlight reflecting off the snow, and just–quite
simply–gave thanks to whatever Power is out there for my life
and all the people and blessings in it. No frills, no
embellishments, no spoken or written words. Just simple,
soulful, heart-felt thanks.
I have been blessed with an attitude of gratitude for most of the
15 years of my recovery. And a couple of years ago, I formalized
my appreciation, taking Oprah’s advice to list 5 things I’m
grateful for every night before I go to sleep. Her words were, “It
will change your life.”
Because gratitude was already a big part of my being, I can’t say it
changed my life. However, it did–and does– serve as a reminder
at a conscious, daily level to be grateful for the small,
and dark parts of my life as well as for the big, miraculous and
bright parts. It is a peaceful prelude to sleep.
I highly recommend taking a bit of time at the end of your day
to actively appreciate the gifts of your life.
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2. The Art of Gratefulness
The transition from the old year to the new is always
accompanied by discussions and articles and advice around
goals, themes, plans, and actions that will make the coming year
your best year yet. This is a great thing. The journey to success,
freedom and joy in our lives requires these kinds of concrete,
purposeful decisions and actions.
As we create the roadmap to where we want our lives to be,
however, it is equally important to acknowledge and appreciate
where we are and what we have.
The following article by Michael Angier eloquently speaks about
the importance of appreciation and gratitude. I offer it to you as
my own beliefs expressed in another’s words.
The Art of Gratefulness by Michael Angier
The word appreciate has several meanings. One is to be thankful
or show gratitude. Another is to raise or increase in value–such
as how a good investment appreciates with time. I think that by
appreciating—practicing gratefulness–the things we have and
want in our lives also increase.
In our hectic, fast-paced lives, it’s easy to forget about the many
things for which we have to be grateful. We tend to be goal-
seeking, achievement-oriented people.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, it’s vitally important that we not lose sight of the
things that are near and dear–things we all too easily take for
What we focus on expands. If we focus on the problems in our
lives, they tend to increase. If we focus on the good things we
already have, they too, have a tendency to grow.
I see it as another form of prayer. When we worry and fret over
things, we make them bigger than they really are, as well as
attract more of the same. That’s negative prayer–prayer in
Focusing on what we HAVE and what we WANT “appreciates”
these things –they grow.
Just before going to sleep each night my wife and I share at least
three things for which we’re thankful. We call it doing our
“Gratefuls”. It takes only a few moments, but it directs our
thoughts on the good–on the things we wish to increase in our life.
I suggest making the conscious consideration of your blessings a
daily rather than yearly occurrence. If you do, you’ll find them
taking on an even greater presence.
Copyright 2000 Michael E. Angier, used with permission.
Michael Angier is the founder and president of Success
Networks International, publishers of SUCCESS STRATEGIES
and SUCCESS DIGEST. Success Net is an association committed
to helping people to be more knowledgeable, productive and
effective. Their mission is to inform, inspire and empower
people to be their best–personally and professionally. Free
subscriptions, memberships, books and SuccessMark Cards are
available at http://www.successnet.org.
If things do not turn out as we wish, we should wish for them as
they turn out.
Most people are searching for happiness. They’re looking for it.
They’re trying to find it in someone or something outside of
themselves. That’s a fundamental mistake. Happiness is
something that you are, and it comes from the way you think.
Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the absence of inner
A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities.
An optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.
4. Humor: What To Do With A Dead Horse
The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one
generation to the next, says that when you discover you are
riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
However, in modern business, because of the heavy investment
factors to be taken into consideration, often other strategies have
to be tried with dead horses, including the following:
1. Buying a stronger whip.
2. Changing riders.
3. Threatening the dead horse with termination.
4. Appointing a committee to study the dead horse.
5. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
6. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
7. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.
8. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
9. Harnessing several dead horses together for increased speed.
10. Donating the dead horse to a recognized charity, thereby
deducting its full original cost.
11. Providing additional funding to increase the dead horse’s
12. Doing a time management study to see if lighter riders
would improve productivity.
13. Declaring that a dead horse has lower overhead and
therefore performs better.
14. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.
Give yourself the gift of conscious considerations of your
blessings this week — each day of the week.
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Copyright © 2001, all rights reserved, by Margo
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Henri J. M. Nouwen
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